The wire service challenge

In a recent post at, Kirk LaPointe takes a look at
the recent Tribune Co. decision to give notice of cancellation to the
Associated Press and compares it with the current situation here in
Canada involving the Canadian Press (CP).

LaPointe writes about his experience at the Vancouver Sun., where he is currently managing editor, after the paper’s owners, Canwest, pulled out of Canadian Press. He writes:

“In our case, we left The Canadian Press as a newspaper chain in mid-2007 and strengthened our own Canwest News Service. We contracted to such firms as Reuters, Agence France Presse, Press Association and others to supplement existing suppliers like The Daily Telegraph, Bloomberg and others for non-local content. The move kept more funds within our company, permitted us to hire a new generation of journalist to help us drive change, gave us a tighter-knit relationship with a domestic service, and also meant we were no longer sharing our journalism with our competitors through a cooperative. It’s hard to imagine, one year or so into the experience, how the service could have done any better.”

About CP, he adds:

“Having worked at CP for 14 years (and run its competitor for about a year), I know how valuable news agencies have been. But in a challenging age of expense management in newsrooms, those agencies have to be nimble, niche-like when it matters, and on the same page about how content is shared. These days they have competitors across any category and there are other places to shop.”